Bethany Hamilton Raises the Bar
at the Roxy Surf Festival
Left: Bethany Hamiton's inspirational
display of ripping in the quarterfinals landed her in
the first WQS semi-final of her young career. Photo:
ASP Robertson © Covered Images. Above: Brazilian
charger Bruna Schmitz is into the semi-finals of the
Roxy Surf Festival. Photo: ASP Robertson © Covered
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bethany Hamilton Raises the Bar at the Roxy
PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (Friday Jan.
25, 2008) – Shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton,
17, (Kauai, HAW) proved she could match many of the world’s
best, by reaching the Semifinals of the Roxy Surf Festival
at Woolamai Beach, Phillip Island, today.
Competing in the 6-Star ASP (Association
of Surfing Professionals), World Qualifying Series division,
Hamilton - who lost her arm to a Tiger Shark off the Island
of Kauai, Hawaii in 2003 - defeated yesterday’s top
scorer Erica Hosseini (USA) in the Quarterfinals.
Her performance marked her career best
result and one of the world’s most inspirational sporting
achievements by a physically challenged athlete.
“I’m feeling so blessed right
now,” Hamilton said. “I want to start off by giving
Jesus all the glory because he’s the reason I can surf
and mentally make it through every day.
“I’m so stoked with these
results and my goal is to win the whole event so I’m
just going to do my best.”
Struggling to find her position against
an incoming tide, Hamilton waited until the last five minutes
to pick off one of the bigger set waves, producing a spectacular
combination of top to bottom surfing - scoring an 8.25 (out
of a possible 10.00 ) and an a 6.00, eliminating Hosseini
from the event.
“She blows my mind,” Contest
Director and former 12 time ASP World Tour event winner Jodi
Cooper said of Hamilton’s performance. “I don’t
think a lot of people fathom the effort this young lady goes
through to not only paddle out, but the technique it takes
to stand up and then once she’s up, the balance and
body rotation she demonstrates, to complete those big turns.”
ASP Women’s World Tour Manager
Brooke Farris had similar sentiments, “To all the other
surfers Bethany is just another competitor. She has overcome
her challenge to become an equal and is a threat to the Women’s
World Tour. Everyone wants to beat her now, just like they
want to beat any other top surfer.”
Another inspirational performance came
from 17-year-old ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons
(Gerroa, NSW, AUS) whose precision surfing at this level of
competition, has far from fizzled out.
The accomplished junior surfer has been
nothing short of dynamite in the water this week and emerged
as the day’s highest heat scorer, amassing scores of
8.00 and 9.80 to dispose of ASP World No. 13 Claire Bevilaqua
(Perth, WA, AUS).
“There’s definitely more
pressure when it comes to crunch time,” Fitzgibbons
said of her Quarterfinal match-up. “Every time I go
out there I challenge myself to chase down my highest score,
and I am excited to be in the Semifinals.
Current World No. 8 Jessi Miley-Dyer
(Bronte, NSW, AUS) stamped her authority over junior standout
Paige Hareb (NZL) in their Quarterfinal match-up.
The experienced ASP World Tour campaigner
seeking out the better of the set waves, connecting her rides
all the way to the inside for two scores in the excellent
category an 8.50 and an 8.00.
“Surfing on the World Tour for
the last couple years, I’ve really worked out how to
surf priority heats (man-on-man heats),” Miley-Dyer
“Surfing against the younger girls
who haven’t had to surf priority heats is definitely
an advantage. I’ve had to surf this format against Layne
Beachley (7X ASP World Champion) so I’d much rather
surf against one of these kids.”
The last heat of the Quarterfinals saw
big wave charger Bruna Schmitz (BRA) responsible for another
of the day’s big upsets, narrowly advancing over former
World Tour campaigner Laurina McGrath (Byron Bay, NSW, AUS)
and eliminating her from the competition.
Top seed and World No. 4 Samantha Cornish
(Burleigh Heads, NSW, AUS) suffered a shock eliminated from
the competition earlier in the day, when she struggled to
find her position against the strong current caused by the
Tomorrow sees the stakes raised for the
remaining four competitors, Miley- Dyer pitted against Fitzgibbons
and Hamilton taking on Schmitz in the Semifinals.
The winner of the 6- Star WQS event will
find themselves well on their way to securing an elite berth
on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour.
The Roxy Surf Festival is held in association
with the Victoria State Government “Play it Safe by
the Water” and proudly supported by ASP Australasia,
Surfing Victoria, Bass Coast Shire Council and Phillip Island
For more information check out www.roxy.com/festival
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